“It is essential that we realize once and for all that man is much more of a sex creature than a moral creature. The former is inherent, the other is grafted on.”
what, you want a love story? read this:
.::.Filed in culture and random linkage | Tagged with capitalism, feministing, goldman, love | Comment (1)
speaking of hyperbolic publications, i have been quoted over at Jezebel.com on the subject of flexisexuality:
As for the word “flexisexual” itself, it’s also not new, despite the Mail’s headline (“the new word for the women who refuse to play it straight”). If we want to get liberal with our definitions (flexilingual), blogger Amy LeBlanc wrote a post dropping “flexisexual” back in March 2004, using the word as a potential synonym for a metrosexual vegetarian who ate free-range and organic meat (“flexitarian”). More relevantly, our friend the Urban Dictionary lists several like-minded definitions of flexisexual dating back to March 2008, when an anonymous Noah Webster-type defined it as a “straight, heterosexual person who flirts with gay homosexual people. Usually seen at clubs, part of the hipster scene.” A few months later followed a new definition: “a girl that is bisexual only on weekends.” Finally, a third person chimed in with, “a person of flexible sexual orientation.”
the piece then goes on, predictably, to discuss how the term degrades women.
semi-related, on the subject of what i perceive as an issue with having feminism as a focus point for a revenue generating website, namely whether or not that sometimes taints your ability to stick to a positive “empowerment” message and not resort to making things up/exaggerating for hits: Feministing vs. Jezebel:Filed in blogging, culture and random linkage | Tagged with feministing, NaBloPoMo | Comment (0)
i just read this piece on SFgate on a new book about “the dark legacy of female friendships”:
Whether it’s the mean girls on the playground or at the office, females leave lasting scars that make it difficult for adult women to form strong female friendships, according to the new book “Twisted Sisterhood: Unraveling the Dark Legacy of Female Friendships.”
“There’s something uniquely monstrous about the female herd,” said author Kelly Valen, who surveyed more than 3,000 women for the book. “Many women told me men can hurt their body, but it’s women who scour their souls.”
i think writing an inflammatory pop-psych book like this only propagates the whole “women are bitches” sentiment, even if her intent was to “expose” this “dark side” and try to get women to “knock it off”. IMO, writing a book like this only makes the problem worse by cementing the stereotype with “research” and makes everything so much harder, including having women elected for important public office positions (Hillary Clinton) or heads of companies because the general public continues to find women untrustable.
i <3 my female friends and have rarely had these kinds of problems.
i know some people commented on the article that this is “genetic”/”hardwired” survivalist behavior and female infighting can be observed in chimps blah blah blah, but i think the problem here with HUMANS is more about the kind of people you choose to befriend and the values they hold, not what gender they are.Filed in culture and random linkage, tv, books and movies | Tagged with feministing, NaBloPoMo | Comments (3)
at first i was afraid of the act itself, but with some words of encouragement, i soon got over that. later, it was realizing that with the internet, what would have formerly been a discrete (and discreet) experience now lives on forever in the public eye.
walking down a runway in front of 300 of my peers with nothing on top, a corset, and hotpants. no bra, no shirt, no pants, no skirt, no fishnets, no tights. this might not be that big of a big deal, like going to the beach, if it weren’t on a runway, but getting up on a stage on a bathing suit would also be incredibly uncomfortable for most women. therefore, i almost turned down the opportunity to do this thing that i really wanted to do because of body shame, and also because of a nagging question that goes something like: what kind of girl does that make me?
what does it matter? some antiquated thoughts about being a properly lady mixed in with the memories of my father not wanting me to wear long earrings and my parents upset at my first tattoo rattling around and up against my rebellious nature and my feelings that our culture is so incredibly stupid about bodies and what they mean and are meant for, wanting to say “fuck you” to the notion that “nice girls”, smart girls, real women don’t have flaming red hair and tattoos and they would never, ever take their clothes off.
so at the moment at the fitting when i had to decide “yes i will do this” or “no i won’t”, despite my anxiety, i couldn’t bring myself to look at the designer and say “no, i’m sorry, i can’t do that.” i realized i would be more ashamed of saying “no, i can’t do that” than i would be of being naked. so i said yes. partly to challenge myself, to do the thing that scares me, and partly to be part of the growing movement that says hey: first of all, stop making us feel ashamed of our bodies, and also: sexy+woman does not = any lesser an anything.
i also recalled vera’s similar experience over a year ago, and the feedback she was given: “You’re totally fine. Enjoy this. One day you’ll be 90, and your body won’t look like this anymore. Be thankful for what you have now.”
but then watching some horrible reality show on VH1 the other day i see women with fake boobs and lip injections and hair extensions and stripper shoes – and i struggle to balance my image of myself and how i might appear to other people against that extreme. i don’t want to look like *them*. but now, with this, who thinks that about me?
i know mainstream culture has come a long way around on not judging books by their covers, but it will never be full circle. millions of years of DNA and basic human nature prevents that. so was this some sort of post – post- feminist (re)action, or playing into generations of objectification? so many strippers will tell you that they are feminists, and that they are not the ones being used, but the users.
i’ve been waiting all week to see how i would feel when the photos came out, knowing i can’t take it back. i don’t have any regrets about it. yet. and i don’t know if i will or won’t.
in short – this is one of the bravest and most uncomfortable things i’ve done in a while; i think i needed to push that line to see who i really was/am in that respect, and i’ve been processing it for days. any harsh comments will promptly be deleted; i’ve thought enough about it already.Filed in autobiographical, me myself and i, most linked/commented on | Tagged with feministing | Comments (14)
over the weekend, i thought a lot about what it means to be a confident woman.
and while my pondering was mostly related to the physical, it was also about just what it means to be a woman these days, and what to do with this sex we are born with, how it changes our perception of who we are, will be, and might have been, affects what we feel comfortable saying or doing, where we can walk at night, and what our desires be. among so many other things.
it’s funny how when you think about something long enough, the world starts to change to present things to you on the subject. two things i read this morning:
Heather Ferreira works in the slums of Mumbai, India, where she has watched thousands of women live under a “curse.”
The women she meets in the squalid streets where “Slumdog Millionaire” was filmed are often treated with contempt, she says. They’re considered ugly if their skin and hair are too dark. They are deemed “cursed” if they only have daughters. Many would-be mothers even abort their children if they learn they’re female.
Yet lately she says Indian women are getting another message from the emergence of another woman thousands of miles away. This woman has dark skin and hair. She walks next to her husband in public, not behind. And she has two daughters. But no one calls her cursed. They call her Michelle Obama, the first lady.
“She could be a new face for India,” says Ferreira, program officer for an HIV-prevention program run by World Vision, an international humanitarian group. “She shows women that it’s OK to have dark skin and to not have a son. She’s quite real to us.”
Those who focus on Michelle Obama’s impact on America are underestimating her reach. The first lady is inspiring women of color around the globe to look at themselves, and America, in fresh ways.
(and to think i was so concerned about hotpants. perspective!)
2. this illustrated piece in the NYT is one of the most interesting things i’ve seen in quite a long time. srsly – take a few minutes. especially if you happen to be a woman.Filed in culture and random linkage | Tagged with feministing | Comment (0)
last night i read a 4-year-old (2005) Time magazine that had a 30-something page special on the American obesity epidemic (that’s where that last post came from), and one of the articles was Can You Be Fat and Healthy? there was a lot of easy to absorb and interesting comparative information in there about being physiologically fit vs. perceived as healthy just by weight and pant size. and then the question:
If you eat well, work out regularly and walk away from your doctor’s office with straight A’s on your physical, what does it matter if you can’t wriggle into slim-cut jeans?
yes, what does it matter, really? why can’t we just be happy in our bodies as long as we’re healthy? how has body image become so twisted?
and then today, thx to Tiny Cat Pants, i read this article about the Minnesota Starvation Experiment (see wikipedia also), which should absolutely be read beginning to end, especially by any women who restrict their calories for diet purposes, but i’ll post a few eye-opening findings here about the effects of a 1,600 restricted-calorie diet on grown men, noting that 1,600 calories is a lot more than a lot of people on diets, especially people on CLEANSES, allow themselves to eat:Filed in culture and random linkage, food, health & vegetarianism, me myself and i, most linked/commented on, personal favorites | Tagged with diet, feministing, fitness, obesity | Comments (12)
“Images of women in bikinis prompted brain responses in men associated with using tools.”
now it makes a lot more sense why they booked Pamela Anderson as an actress on Home Improvement.
all jokes aside, my concern is more about this statement:
“Both women and men have something to learn from this line of research, Raison said. Women should be aware of how they are perceived when wearing provocative clothing, and men shouldn’t let feelings of impersonal sexual longing interfere with their more personal relationships with other women, including female friends.”
i know a great many women who believe/think/feel that they should be allowed to wear whatever they wish and not be judged for it and/or sexualized, and then there’s the hotbutton rape “she was asking for it” issue, often based on what a woman was wearing. i know this is a SUPER complicated and highly sensitive and controversial topic, so i was kind of shocked to see this in such plain writing on CNN.
i’m not sure how i feel about it, actually, but sexuality aside, i personally believe that how we dress/present ourselves has much more impact on our interactions with other humans that we ever consciously realize, or wish to be true. this seems to be another case in point.
and again, i’ve never been properly schooled in feminist theory, or evolutionary biology for that matter, so this is all just, you know, me thinking.
(tangent but a helluva story: Visual Rapists, Thieves, and Prada. related in that this woman obviously has experienced some serious sex-related trauma.)Filed in culture and random linkage | Tagged with evolution, feministing, sex | Comments (4)
Way back in the day, I belonged to a very rigorous political collective, which contained several Marxists. They policed everyone, as Marxists are wont to do, proclaiming themselves the keepers of Advanced Political Thought and Revolutionary Consciousness, also known as Class Consciousness. I actually bought this for awhile. I was young and stupid.
And then, I found out several of these people were rich kids. Kids of privilege. Kids who were basically slumming. I had been utterly fooled by the boho, hippie lifestyle, the fashionable thinness that I had mistaken for semi-starvation, and the gung-ho talk of overthrowing the bourgeoisie and the government. I had never met people OF the class they wanted to overthrow; it made no sense to me. I was stunned. And: Class consciousness? I asked them (during one of their interminable meetings), wasn’t it impossible for rich kids to have the proper class consciousness? Aren’t you irreparably tainted? After all, one of their heroes, Chairman Mao, thought so, and sent the grown children of the rich to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution.
Rather than answer me, they kicked me out of the collective for other manifestations of political incorrectness.
Why, you ask, is she telling us this?
Because it was one of the turning points of my life, the moment I Got It: The reason these people thought they could be the Best Marxists of Them All, was because they came from families who communicated to them from the time of their birth, that they were the best, always right, the people who should be in charge. Thus, when they entered the Left, they took charge of that too, not missing a beat. Of course they did. You didn’t really expect them to let poor or working class people lead them, didya? They know best, they are educated, they can quote Herbert Marcuse and Antonio Gramsci at you. They looked down on me, rather as rich kids had always looked down on me. Of course they did.
there is a lot to think about there, without even getting into the rest of the post about feminism, particularly while i’m reflecting on some of the things brought up in the comments on this recent post about me being high-and-mighty in my anti-consumerist ways. i didn’t grow up a trustfund kid, and i’m not slumming it, but a lot of it probably still applies. i knew a lot of those kids in college (e.g. those who used summer break to follow Phish around Europe because they didn’t need to get a job), and i still do now, and yeah: it took me a while to realize that it’s easy to preach revolution when you’ve got a cushy pad to fall back on if the world crumbles.
i have recently been more aware of how my own personal wealth has affected my morality (aside: interesting article/video on morality and intention here). i have even considered that perhaps i make too much money for my own good. that i am staying with my job not because i really believe in the work or that it is the best use of my time and energy, but because leaving would almost inevitably mean a pay cut, and taking a paycut would mean giving up a lot of extra benefits that i have in my life now. things i didn’t have growing up. that if i left my job to work for a nonprofit or somesuch and took a paycut, maybe i would remember some of the things that i have been forgetting about being poor, and maybe i wouldn’t be so bold about making statements such as that the financial collapse might be good for us as a culture. but oh, then, how privileged it that, thinking that taking a paycut would be good for yourself morally?
“nothing is more bourgeois than being afraid to look bourgeois.”
“In conclusion, I invite the media to grow a pair, and if you can’t, I will lend you mine.”
–Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton
see also: Eve Ensler on Sarah Palin:
I don’t like raging at women. I am a Feminist and have spent my life trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against them. It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin choice was all the more insidious and cynical. The people who made this choice count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists.
But everything Sarah Palin believes in and practices is antithetical to Feminism which for me is part of one story — connected to saving the earth, ending racism, empowering women, giving young girls options, opening our minds, deepening tolerance, and ending violence and war.
and finally, even though Palin likes to brag about all the good she’s done for Alaska and what a homegirl she is, the anti-sarah palin rally on 9/14 in Anchorage “was the biggest political rally ever, in the history of the state“, and at least 50% larger than the PRO-palin rally the same day.Filed in politics and news | Tagged with feministing | Comment (0)